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Nature Notes - Hazel Catkins

Hazel Catkins, January 2019

You can see the catkins forming on this branch

The tiny burst of red at the bottom of the stem is the female flower of the Hazel

I can't believe that for years I bought into the myth that our trees are bare in Winter! Hazel catkins brightly festoon our trees in the early months of the year. I love to see a tree covered in them, they remind me of paper decorations & make me think of festivals or parties. I absolutely love the way they dangle, a vivid pale acid yellowy green.

The catkins contain the seed of the hazel tree. Like other trees, which rely on the wind to spread their seed, the catkins appear before the leaves, which is what gives us this show of colour whilst much of nature is still dormant.

They appeared very early this Winter, in December. Their early appearance worried me a little & prompted me to research them in more detail. My books tell me they will appear early in mild weather, which is a little reassuring.

Since I wrote this other trees have begun to produce their catkins. Willow trees responded to the warm weather with pollen, but now the temperature has taken a dive again I wonder how they will fare...

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